Insider’s View: Music Library

Music Library

Photo by Marion Ross

Within Pratt Music Hall resides the small, quiet Eleanor Pierce Stevens Library of Music. The space is named after Eleanor Pierce Stevens ’25 and was established in 2001 as part of the building’s renovation, which also resulted in improvements to the concert hall, now McCulloch Auditorium. Stevens was a French major at Mount Holyoke and a lifelong lover of music. Until her death in 2007 at the age of 102, she was known to practice her extraordinary ballroom dancing skills weekly.

  • Until the 2001 renovation of Pratt Music Hall the volumes currently in the library were dispersed in eight separate rooms scattered throughout the building and in the College’s Williston-Smith Library. The redesign created a central space for these materials to be comprehensively organized and made more useful to students. Prior to this refurbishing, Pratt Hall, originally built in 1909, hadn’t changed much. The renovation revitalized and modernized the building.
  • Stevens is home to roughly 27,700 items, including CDs, DVDs, journals, books, and 155 instruments. The oldest item in the collection is a first-edition translation of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s “Traité de l’harmonie,” published in 1737. The most popular item found in the library’s stacks is a CD of Shakespearean songs and dances performed by the Broadside Band.
  • The library features a bank of computers outfitted with headphones and plenty of music-related software for student use. There is also a room intended for group work that features full audio/video capacity for use in student projects.
  • Although students may first come to the library for the numerous scores, books on music theory, recordings, and periodicals, they stay—and return—for the space itself. Students who spend time in the library tend to cluster near the windows that afford a view of Lower Lake or lounge in the comfortable chairs tucked away behind the stacks. The library is quieter and newer than Williston and conveniently located in the same building as music classrooms. Of course, non-music students are welcome as well.

By Olivia Collins ’18

This article appeared in the fall 2015 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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